The federal government has reduced costs for health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act. Starting today, West Virginians are eligible to enroll in cheaper plans.
Anyone without employer health insurance or publicly funded plans like Medicare and Medicaid can apply for insurance through the federal marketplace. The federal government subsidizes these plans to keep them affordable.
Starting this month, more subsidies are available, meaning customers can get covered for less.
Jeremy Smith runs WV Navigator, which helps people sign up through the federal health exchange.
“Virtually everybody will be able to qualify for some subsidy that will lower the cost,” he said.
He said higher income earners have not qualified for subsidized plans in the past. That included anyone making 400 percent of the federal poverty guideline.
Starting this month, health insurance plan costs will be capped at 8.5 percentage of someone’s yearly income, regardless of what they make.
For example, a couple making $70,000 a year together would not have qualified for a subsidized plan in the past. Smith says they could have paid roughly $1200 a month for insurance through the marketplace. Now that same couple would end up paying less than $300 a month, due to the price cap and other subsidies.
The open enrollment period was also extended until Aug. 15th Anyone already enrolled in the marketplace can revisit their plan to apply for more affordable options available now, said Smith.
WV Navigator is a federally funded nonprofit that helps West Virignians sign up for plans through the marketplace. Those who need assistance can call the nonprofit at (304) 356-5834.